Not so very long ago, mamas didn't let their babies grow up to be cooks. It's no accident that restaurant kitchens were situated in the back, with swinging doors firmly affixed to their entrances. Food was supposed appear out of nowhere, like magic. The people who cooked it were irrelevant — interchangeable cogs in military brigade systems, or miscreants who did the job as a means to some other end. For evidence of this, look no further than food's favorite bad boy, Anthony Bourdain, who describes the life of the derelict cook in his famous tell-all book Kitchen Confidential.
|Image by Emily Utne|
These days, we delight in the cook as artist. We want to know who put together the plate, how they did it, what drives them, and how they can possibly be so capable, so creative. For a while it was fun — what cook didn't like coming out of the shadows for a bit, getting their picture taken, having ladies (and fellows) give them "that look"?
But another trend is brewing, one of kitchen crews wondering if they really have time for all this folly. Who has time for genius when the hood needs cleaning and the cost of beef won't stop going up?More »